Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Getting ready for Fall!

The last few summer days are fading fast! With school starting and everyone getting back into a more structured routine comes the thought of fall.  Well maybe not on our lingering 95+ days but little signs of it like our enjoyable 75degree nights.

Things to help around your home now....

Change your Central Air/Heat air filters - Keeping those filters clean will really make a difference in your units efficiency.

Change the batteries in your smoke detectors.

Move the Furniture - Allergies for most people are seasonal and many of us take the time to move things around for deep cleaning in the spring but don't think about it in the fall.  Fall allergies can be reduced by cleaning under those beds, couches, tables, etc...get the dust & spiders cleared out and make your home easier to breathe in!

Caulk around doors & windows - Most homes windows and doors are caulked when they are installed to help improved energy efficiency.  However, over time weather and age shrink and crack caulking.  So checking and refreshing it in the fall is a good way to keep your home as energy efficient as possible. 

Clean your outdoor/indoor windows - Spring cleaning is a natural time to do this but doing it at the beginning of fall will make the windows easier to clean in the spring and clear out any spider eggs or bug nest that might be hiding in the corners!

Compost & Mulch - Adding a fresh layer of compost will help feed you perennials and shrubs during the winter months and adding a fresh layer of mulch will protect the roots as the colder months approach. Prepare a spot in your garage or shed for any potted plants that you will need to overwinter.  Having a spot ready will make it easier to move them when the lower temps dip to near freezing temperatures.

Reset those Sprinklers - The cooler temps mean you don't need to water as often.  Reset your timers and consider turning off unneeded zones.  It's a good time to go ahead and wrap any exposed or free standing water pipes, you might also consider a thermal wrap on your hot water heater. Disconnect the water hose and get it ready to store.  You may still need it but disconnecting it from the faucet will let you know how much you are still using it.

Clean, Clear Out & Cover -  Now is the time to dry brush all your outdoor furniture, clean the furniture with a mild soapy solution and check for any paint or rust repair that may be needed.  After everything is looking clean and ready cover the furniture with an outdoor cover with sturdy tabs to ensure a snug fit.  Spot clean cushions and take a shop vac to vacuum them well.  You can either store the cushions on the furniture under the cover or put them in their own box in your garage, attic or shed.  An indoor space will keep the fabric more conditioned and help the life of the cushion last longer. When covering a table that is not under a covered space put a bucket upside down on the table so that water or snow will easily slide off.  Clean and check all outdoor toys.  Wash all toys with a detergent and bleach solution and dry well.  Any broken or damaged toys can be tossed.  Any outgrown toys can be donated. Summer balls can be cleaned and deflated for storage.  Pack away the remaining summer toys in a plastic storage container with secure lid.  Now everything is in good shape and you will know where it is when the warmer outdoor days return!

Energy Rates - Make sure you have the best rate for your family to ensure the biggest savings for your fall/winter power usage!

Veggie Garden - Consider planting lettuce, greens, squash, and beans for veggies that will thrive in the cooler temps.

Fall, Seasons in the HomeVegetable Gardening: Spring and Fall

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